This? This isn’t big. My first one said, “Property of Madame X’s Torture Dungeon—all rights reserved.” That was big.
Above, a cover for Everyone’s Virgin by John Dexter, for Greenleaf Classics, 1967. We’ve talked about the non-existent Dexter several times. This effort is about two young women who pretend to be innocent in order to lure older men into sex, whereupon they blackmail the silly horndogs. We aren’t sure where the branding fits in, but it makes for a fun cover. Thank artist Ed Smith.
Well, okay—since you say it worked for Tom Brady, I guess I can take some of the pressure out of your balls.
The original painting at top, which we ran across on an auction site, was made for the cover of John Dexter’s (Harvey Hornwood’s) 1969 sleaze novel Passion’s Pupil, just above. Like most covers from the genre, it has several raunchy elements. Not only is the femme fatale threatening to go down on her knees, and not only has the football star found the world’s smallest towel (which we guess will make her next manuver even easier), but the jersey peeking out of his locker seems to bear the number 69. Standard stuff.
But what isn’t standard is there may be some question about who painted this. According to the vendor selling it—for $800.00, in case you’re looking for something to go above your mantel—the piece is by Robert Bonfils, however, the quite authoritative Greenleaf Classics Books website has this attributed to Darrel Millsap. The two had nearly identical styles during the time they worked for Greenleaf, so there’s no way to look at the painting and discern whose it is, and there’s no signature on the front or rear. We’re sure the mystery will be solved at some point, though, probably by whoever eventually shells out eight bills for the art.
We like the painting not only on its own sleazy merits, but because it reminds us of another original painting we posted way back that was used for the front of Amy Harris’s schoolhouse sleaze novel Prize Pupil. In fact, if you click back there you’ll see that the male figures in both scenes are weirdly similar. And of course so are the titles of the books. Did Bonfils/Millsap use that earlier cover as inspiration? It sure looks like it.
Vintage paperback violence gets up close and personal.
We have another collection today as we prepare to jet away on vacation with the girls. Since the place we’re going is known for rowdy British tourists (what place isn’t known for that?), we thought we’d feature some of the numerous paperback covers featuring fights. You’ll notice, as with our last collection, the preponderance of French books. Parisian publishers loved this theme. The difference, as opposed to American publishers, is that you almost never saw women actually being hit on French covers (we’d almost go so far as to say it never happened, but we’ve obviously not seen every French paperback ever printed). The French preferred man-on-man violence, and when women were involved, they were either acquitting themselves nicely, or often winning via the use of sharp or blunt instruments.
Violence against women is and has always been a serious problem in the real world, but we’re just looking at products of the imagination here, which themselves represent products of the imagination known as fiction. Content-wise, mid-century authors generally frowned upon violence toward women even if they wrote it into their novels. Conversely, the cover art, stripped of literary context, seemed to glorify it. Since cover art is designed to entice readers, there’s a valid discussion here about why anti-woman violence was deemed attractive on mid-century paperback fronts, and whether its disappearance indicates an understanding of its wrongness, or merely a cynical realization that it can no longer be shown without consequences. We have another fighting cover here, and you may also want to check out our western brawls here.
For better or worse, in sickness and health, women in pulp don’t have a heck of a lot of choice about it.
Pulp is a place where the men are decisive and the women are as light as feathers. We’ve gotten together a collection of paperback covers featuring women being spirited away to places unknown, usually unconscious, by men and things that are less than men. You have art from Harry Schaare, Saul Levine, Harry Barton, Alain Gourdon, aka Aslan, and others.
Considering I’m utterly tripping balls this actually came out okay.
Above is the cover of the sleaze novel LSD Lusters, published by Greenleaf Classics for their Nightstand Books line in 1967. Author John Dexter was a pseudonym inhabited by a number of writers, including Robert Silverberg. Because of that, we don’t know who actually wrote the book. But they must have been high when they agreed to do it. Art is by Darrel Millsap.
Sharon Tate was the unknowing model for at least two more paperback covers.
A long while ago we showed you a paperback cover that featured a painting of Sharon Tate. That book specifically used Tate both as cover art and interior subject matter. In contrast, the two figures above aren’t explicitly supposed to be Tate, but it just so happens that both unknown artists modeled their work from an on set photograph from her 1966 Dracula spoof The Fearless Vampire Killers. The photo was shot by Roman Polanski, who also directed the film. As you can see, it was used on John Dexter’s sleaze pulp Chuck-a-Lust, painted by Darrel Millsap, and on Paul Collins’s, aka Renato Carocci's giallo Ordine di uccidere, painted by Bendetto Caroselli. The former was published in 1967, and the latter in 1968. One year later, Tate was gone.
I wonder if she ever understood what I meant all those times I told her I was really into the dead?
The men of pulp and sleaze fiction typically have a personal creed, a set of unbreakable rules that the best authors constantly mock by presenting the heroes with incredibly bizarre grey areas. We have a suspicion what the guy on the cover of John Dexter’s (Robert Silverberg’s) Sinners Three wants. But how is he going to talk himself into it? We suggest he think back to his college frat and remind himself this wouldn’t be the first time he took advantage of a girl after she had too many shots.
Baby, I don’t mind you calling my chest an A-cup, but can you stop calling my penis an A-cup too?
"You actually make a pretty hot chick,” she says, smiling.
“Why are you smiling?”
“I’m not smiling,” she says, laughing.
“You’re laughing at me.”
“I’m not laughing,” she says, hyperventilating.
“Okay, screw this! I didn’t want to do this anyway!”
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1950—Althea Gibson Breaks the Color Barrier
Althea Gibson becomes the first African-American woman to compete on the World Tennis Tour, and the first to earn a Grand Slam title when she wins the French Open in 1956. Later she becomes the first African-American woman to compete in the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
1952—Devil's Island Closed
Devil's Island, the penal colony located off the coast of French Guiana, is permanently closed. The prison is later made world famous by Henri Charrière's bestselling novel Papillon, and the subsequent film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
1962—De Gaulle Survives Assassination Attempt
Jean Bastien-Thiry, a French air weaponry engineer, attempts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle to prevent Algerian independence. Bastien-Thiry and others attack de Gaulle's armored limousine with machine guns, but after expending hundreds of rounds, they succeed only in puncturing two tires.
1911—Mona Lisa Disappears
Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, aka La Gioconda, is stolen from the Louvre. After many wild theories and false leads, it turns out the painting was snatched by museum employee Vincenzo Peruggia.
1940—Trotsky Iced in Mexico
In Mexico City exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is fatally wounded with an ice axe
(not an ice pick) by Soviet agent Ramon Mercader. Trotsky dies the next day.
1968—Prague Spring Ends
200,000 Warsaw Pact troops backed by 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia to end the Prague Spring political liberalization movement.
1986—Sherrill Goes Postal
In Edmond, Oklahoma, United States postal employee Patrick Sherrill shoots and kills fourteen of his co-workers and then commits suicide.
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